Celebrating a Buddhist Holiday in Bangkok

by Poi on July 20, 2011

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Last Friday Thai’s were busy celebrating Buddhist Lent (Khao Phansa).  This meant Kirsty had a day off from school (YAY) so, during the day we explored the Grand Palace but by evening we were wondering if we could head out and have a couple of drinks. Unfortunately for us, the sale of alcohol was banned over the weekend for Buddhist Lent…

The majority of bars and restaurants that expats frequent see little point in opening when they can’t sell alcohol. In fact sometimes police have to double their efforts in expat area’s of town because they think we all find it impossible to go without a drink for one night.

“For many of these men, 36 hours without a drink and the company of a rented Asian female represents something unacceptable, terrifying even”

We’re not that bad but, if we couldn’t go and get drunk, what could we do?

Well, it turns out, you can go to gigs.

‘The Rock Pub’ had already scheduled a band, Silverstein from Canada, to play on Friday night as part of their South East Asian Tour. I can’t help but feel that it was planned so far in adavnce that no one realised it would fall in one of the few days where the sale of alcohol was illegal in Thailand…

Silverstein are a Band I have not really listened to properly in maybe 5 years but with so few bands passing through, I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to go to our first gig since leaving home 11 months ago.

Silverstein Asian Invasion Tour

Silverstein at The Rock Pub, Bangkok

The rock pub reminds me the place that Kirsty and I met which used to host local bands, it’s that small, which is only a positive in my eyes (as long as you can get a ticket). Entering the room it seemed to lack a bit of atomosphere, music played in the background but everyone seemed to be just waiting around, I guess this is where I would normally head to get a drink and small talk with people, but without the common purpose of forcing our way to the front of the tiny bar it all seemed a bit subdued.

However, once the band took to the stage they received a great reception, who’d have thought they were so popular over here? After all, this was their first time in Thailand! As they got underway it was clear there were some serious fans in the crowd, singing along to every word, fists in the air.

Without our liquid courage we stayed back and enjoyed the show, in my case, just happy to be at a gig again.

Then came the question from the lead singer ‘So you guys really can’t drink tonight? Who’s got the shakes? I was surprised to hear quite a few Thai people say it was fine as they has been on the beer beforehand, fair enough.

I can honestly say I’ve never been to a gig that hasn’t involved alcohol and I mentioned to Kirsty a few times how standing there tapping my foot and bobbing my head just didn’t feel right without a pint in my hand, I don’t drink a lot anymore but this is one night I would have really enjoyed a few beers.

Sitting in a restaurant after the show eating chicken just didn’t feel very ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ Where was the after party? I’m sure for many of the crowd, being locals, it was to some back alley where they knew getting hold of some more drink wouldn’t be an issue…

Have you been to a gig abroad? How did it compare??


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures July 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

No beer at a rock concert would seem pretty strange to me!


Poi July 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

just wrong even?


Bob Crunch July 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I’ve never been to one but I really enjoyed the article. I can just imagine the lead singer asking his question and a feeling awkwardness appear in the room.


Poi July 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

Well as you might guess a crowd is a bit more responsive after a few drinks however the Thai’s seemed just as excited.


Nomadic Samuel July 22, 2011 at 7:55 am

“I can honestly say I’ve never been to a gig that hasn’t involved alcohol and I mentioned to Kirsty a few times how standing there tapping my foot and bobbing my head just didn’t feel right without a pint in my hand.”

WoW! A dry show would be quite a letdown. I’m not a big drinker myself but would enjoy more of an atmosphere.


Poi July 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

It’s just one of those occasions that suits having a few drinks, still a great show though.


Bluegreen Kirk July 26, 2011 at 2:02 am

i guess I can go with the 36 hours with no alcohol but to go to a gig and not have a drink would be a let down. I would have been looking for the after party as well.


Poi July 26, 2011 at 9:18 am

I could go a long time without a drink but it’s part and parcel of going to a gig but we are in Thailand after all and should respect their holidays.


Mack Reynolds July 28, 2011 at 3:30 am

i went bar hopping and generally partying with my two cousins in australia. one of the spots we stopped at had a live band from the US (where i’m from) and i was just excited to see a live american band that it didn’t matter that they were playing their last song of the set. i was so inebriated by that point that i talked to the band afterward and bought their cd. it wasn’t so good when i listened to it with sober ears, but i had a blast. sorry you couldn’t have a few brews with your concert man.


Poi July 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

haha sounds good – I’ve done the cd thing a couple of times… Is this really the band I was loving last night?

There are a few more decent bands coming up and hopefully they won’t fall on a holiday!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lauren August 4, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hahahaha, I once went to a Roger Waters show in Russia… Completely bizarre. Everyone sat in their seats the whole time, looking very serious. No smiles or clapping. On top of that, they had this big russian security guys wandering around with guns!


Poi August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Wow that sounds mental for show, a silent still crowd must have been great for him.

Mind you I’m sure he had one eye on the machine guns as well, if there was ever a night to play well….


Total Travel Bug September 15, 2011 at 5:44 pm

No beer at a gig? Very wrong! I went to a festival in Jamaica once and it was mental. We were the only non Jamaicans in the crowd and they were all nuts and insisted on us drinking straight rum. I asked for some coke in my rum and they looked at me like I’d asked them to spit in it!


Poi September 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm

haha straight rum is a challenge but if there was ever a time to do it, sounds like you had it. Must have been an amazing experience!


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